In the latest installment of “Sub Spouse Small Business,” meet Sarah, a submarine spouse who turned her love of beach combing in Guam into designing gorgeous, sea glass jewerly and wooden home decor. Her hobby quickly turned into a lucrative business, so successful that Sarah was even able to open a brick and mortar store! She’s going on over five years of business. Read more below:
Name: Sarah Boucher, owner of Studio 13 North
Current Duty Station: Guam
Q: Tell us about your business.
My business is Studio 13 North in Guam. I make sea glass jewelry and local wood home decor and furniture.
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
When first arriving on island in 2015 my career was not here, so I didn’t have a job I could jump into. I needed something to kill the time while the kids were at school and my husband was working or deployed. I was very much used to working a 9-5 job, so I was stir crazy. I started going to the beach every day and exploring the island. I would walk along and naturally started picking up shells and sea glass. My collection grew and I had bins on bins of sea glass. My husband came home from a deployment and said “do something with all this or put it back in the ocean”. I laughed and said challenge accepted.
Q: How did you start your business?
I started wrapping the sea glass with silver wire and putting it on necklace chain. I shared it with my Facebook friends and they loved it and wanted to buy it. I thought maybe this could work as a small business. I did some research and didn’t see anything here like it at the local markets. So I threw myself head first and got a peddlers license to do pop-ups. My first pop-up I sold out. I kept doing it every week and started to make different pieces of jewelry. After a year I was able to open a brick and mortar.
Q: How do you manage the work/life balance as a submarine spouse?
It was a blessing, but made life more chaotic with managing the kids with school and activities and spending time with my husband when he was home. I luckily had a great tribe of women that I met through out FRG that donated time to help.
Q: Any advice for fellow submarine spouses who want to start their own business?
My advice to other spouses is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. If you have a craft or hobby that you love, put it out there and see what happens!
Q: Favorite thing(s) to do in your current duty station?
My favorite things to do on Guam is obviously go to the beach as much as possible, hike, and enjoy all the local culture. I’ve learned a lot from living here for six years and appreciate the opportunity of being stationed here.
Q: Where can we support and learn more about your business?
Guam Store: CHamoru Village, Unit 128 96932 Hagatna, Guam, Guam
Etsy Shop: Studio13North